S. Korean opposition urges government to drop nuclear secrecy

Featured - November 14th, 2012
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A South Korean lawmaker urged the government to resume publishing polls on nuclear safety as public confidence in the sector plunges following the Fukushima disaster in Japan.

Opposition legislator in South Korea’s parliament, Woo Yoon-geun, made the remarks after two nuclear plants were shut down over allegedly forged safety certificates, prompting sweeping investigations into all 23 reactors in the country – a scandal that has grappled the industry and raised speculations among a ‘pro-nuclear’ public.

The polls, conducted by an industry body under the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, were published annually until the March 2011 nuclear crisis in Fukushima. Woo claimed that the government had deliberately suppressed the polls in a bid to ensure support for plans to construct new nuclear power stations.

“They should disclose the result to the public as it is and conduct the official regular survey,” Woo told Reuters on Tuesday.

The blunder could impede South Korea’s nuclear ambitions, including its plans to build another six nuclear reactors by 2024 to ease its dependence on imported oil, coal and liquefied natural gas. Seoul is also seeking to expand its role in the global nuclear industry and aims to export 80 nuclear reactors by 2030 in deals worth a reported total of $300 billion.